Wind to blow towards Pacific from quake-hit Japan plant

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 12:10 PM
Wind to blow towards Pacific from quake-hit Japan plant

TOKYO (Reuters) - The wind near a quake-damaged nuclear complex in northeast Japan, which has released radiation into the atmosphere, will blow from the northwest and out into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, a weather official said.

The wind speed will get stronger in the afternoon, blowing as fast as at 12 meters (39 ft) per second, said the official at the Japan Meteorological Agency in Fukushima prefecture, where the plant is based.

"It is likely to continue blowing from the northwest until early evening and from the west at night," another official at the Fukushima's weather agency told Reuters.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), is about 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo on the country's northeast coast.

Bad weather in the Fukushima area is worsening visibility, keeping the government from deploying military helicopters to douse one of the reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, Kyodo news agency reported.

Fire broke out at the quake-hit plant on Wednesday and workers were ordered to withdraw briefly from the facility after radiation levels surged, Kyodo reported.

The plant has sent low levels of radiation wafting into Tokyo in the past 24 hours, triggering both fear in the capital and international alarm.

Officials said radiation in Tokyo was 10 times normal at one point on Tuesday, but not a threat to human health in the sprawling high-tech city of 13 million people.

A massive earthquake and tsunami on Friday crippled the plant's cooling functions, forcing operator Tokyo Electric Power Co to pour sea water into the reactors, releasing radioactive air into atmosphere.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Yoko Nishikawa; Editing by Alex Richardson)